Psychology 1X03: Forming Impressions
• We immediately make automatic judgments about a person that influence us about how
we think, feel, and behave towards that person
Correspondent Inference Theory
According to Jones and David correspondent inference theory, you actively analyze a
person`s behavior to make inferences based on three variables:
1. Degree of choice
3. intended consequences of the behavior
Degree of choice
• To understand why a person is behaving in a particular way, it helps to know if he chose
t act in the observed behavior in question
• Despite its logic you may sometimes have difficulty appreciating the role of degree of
choice in a chosen behavior
• And so, you may develop strong emotional feelings for or against a movie actor who
you assume I really that romantic or that slimy in real life
• Uncommon behavior gives us a lot more information than common behavior
• if someone behaves in a way typical to what you would expect from them, you do not
have any reason to infer an underlying cause of their behavior
• for example, if you watched a commercial that advocated lower smocking levels which
you knew was sponsored by a tobacco company, you may suspect that the motivation
behind this message was driven by a hidden goal= perhaps you may suspect that the
tobacco company real goal is to look like a caring corporate citizen
• You probably wouldn't have the same suspicion if you heard you sister advocating the
Kelley`s covariation theory
predicts how you determine if a given behavior is due to an individual's personal
disposition OR the situation and the circumstances.
EX. computer not working so...is it the guys fault or the computer it self
• Does the individual usually behave this way in this situation?
• Does the individual behave differently in different situations?
• if YES --> Situational if NO---> Dispositional • In this case you might ask does he have trouble with other computers or just this one ? if
yes this the current problem is due to his end, if No then the trouble is with that computer
• Do others behave similarly in this situation?
• if YES--> Situational if NO---> Disposition
• You might ask: do other people have trouble with Chris`s computer, or is it just him? If
everyone has trouble with this computer its likely use to a problem specific to the
The Fundamental Attribution Error
• Tendency to over-value dispositional factors for the observed behaviours of other while
under-valuing situational factors
• The term itself was coined by the psychologist Ross, who presented an influential
argument for the place of the FAE in social psychology.
• Later the psychologist found Ross`s term "overly proactive and somewhat misleading"
and added "furthermore I am angry I did not think of that myself"
The Actor/Observer Effect
• FUNDAMENTALATTRUBUTION ERROR--> assume behaviour of others are primarily
due to distortional factors
• ACTOR OBSERVER EFFECT --> Consider the situational factors of your own behaviour
• EX. a study was done in 2004 of young drivers that were asked to explain the reasons
for their own and their friends risky driving behaviour. Although teenagers were more
likely to attribute their own risky driving to situational factors, such as being in a hurry or
feeling pressure from peers they were more likely to attribute their friends risky driving
behaviours to personal factors, such as having fun and showing off.
CULTRAL DIFFERENCES IN YOUNGER GROUPS
DIFFERENCES IN THE OLDER GROUPS -
comparisons with other different cultures have
shown similar results.
-Morris and Peng in 1994 compared attributions made by the US and the Chinese students
(look at the picture)
-Also this can be compared to the Olympics because the US: Gold medal winners are more
likely to attribute their hold to their determination and talent CHINESE: gold medal winners are
more likely to attribute their gold winning to their performance success due to their coaching
• This refers to the tendency to perceive yourself as favourable
• One of these is the "above average effect" which means that you identify dispositional
causes for your successes but situational causes to your failures, giving you an
exaggerated view of yo